Gov. Dayton’s State of the State focused on few issues that are top of mind for owners.
Minnesota Small Biz Ignored, Again
Even though his address stretched beyond 40 minutes, Gov. Mark Dayton talked little about small business in his State of the State address on March 9.
With so many improvements to be made, small business owners were disappointed in the governor’s lack of focus on business issues, says NFIB/Minnesota State Director Mike Hickey. Although NFIB was encouraged the Governor pledged to support a meaningful unemployment insurance tax credit which he recently delivered on when he signed into law legislation that provided employers $258 million in unemployment insurance tax relief in the form of a onetime tax credit that would reduce taxes for most businesses by approximately 25 percent.
Dayton’s speech focused mainly on investments in education, transportation and diversity issues, which meant small business owners were left without an idea of how the governor plans to help them.
“Now is the time to enact reforms and deductions,” Hickey wrote in a response to the governor’s address. “To the contrary, he pledged his permanent opposition to most tax reductions, regardless how strategic, to help Main Street and the small business economy.”
The governor rebuked the argument that taxes are too high throughout his speech, saying that they are necessary to make investments in state programs such as public transportation, early childhood education and unemployment benefits for workers in the Iron Range.
“They say, ‘give it all back’ to taxpayers,” Dayton said. “But that slogan is based on a wrong premise and wrong conclusion.”
In fact, the governor has laid out a plan to spend $698 million of the surplus on these programs, along with leftover dollars going to other programs such as expanding broadband internet for rural Minnesota. Approximately $100 million of that proposal is going to tax relief for individuals and Minnesota business owners, an amount that has many business advocates protesting about the meager relief for small businesses.
“We’re not opposed to tax credits, but he’s talking about less than $100 million of tax relief—we’ve got a $900 million surplus,” said Senator Minority Leader David Hann.
With the short session in its fifth week, the stage is set to see how lawmakers will use the surplus, and what will happen for small businesses—if anything at all.